Here’s where things stand as the summer of 2019 comes to an end.
All the key pieces are in place to provide a complete biking and walking trail between downtown Conover and downtown Phelps. That includes the funding we believe will be needed to build the last 2 miles of trail, and the route for the final section of trail, from Song Hill Lane on into downtown Phelps where the trail is incorporated into the lakefront park plans. In addition, a damaged area on the Conover end of the trail near Muskrat Creek Road has recently been repaired.
The nine miles of completed trail was well-used throughout the summer. It was the venue once again for a very successful biking and hiking event, the Don Gillum Memorial Bike and Hike. That event raised over $2,400 for the trail and the same amount for Relay for Life of the Northwoods. Click here to get a PDF of the trail map that highlights the great sponsors of the 2019 Don Gillum event.
Completion of the last two miles, however, has been delayed. Due to the challenging terrain contours on the north side of Cty Hwy K we are engaging MSA Professional Services to determine the most cost-effective and user-friendly alignment for the trail.
(MSA is the firm doing preliminary engineering for the River Trail project to develop a trail connecting Eagle River to St. Germain. GHT is working with the River Trail Commission in the same manner that it has worked with the towns of Phelps and Conover over the last 9 years. Click here for information on the Commission and the project.)
A second factor slowing down completion of the Conover-Phelps Trail is waiting on the US Forest Service to finish reviewing the route the trail will follow from Song Hill Lane through the 1,000 foot stretch of national forest on the north side of Cty K. We requested that review last October. We will be continuing to work with Phelps officials and the USFS this fall to move it along.
As we look ahead, we believe that it will be possible to bid out the 2-mile trail project in early spring of 2020, and complete the Conover-Phelps Trail next summer. We will do everything we can to meet that schedule.
We are pretty disappointed by these developments. We know, though, that we need to work patiently and purposefully to get the Conover-Phelps Trail completed as soon as possible without compromising on the qualities that will ensure its attractiveness, usefulness and sustainability.
Please feel free to contact us at any time if you would like further information.